posted on Mar, 16 2011 @ 12:07 PM
A full blown meltdown would mean:
The fuel rods become exposed and they are unable to cool them, causing them to boil the remaining water creating hydrogen and releasing radioactive
steam. Once this occurs the rods physically melt. As we learned with Chernobyl, this creates essentially radioactive lava (can't think of the exact
name) that then burrows down into the ground moving towards the center of the earth.
While this is happening, the rods are emitting radioactive particles.
This is a horrible situation if you are near to the reactor, but won't cause too much harm outside of 100km depending on wind patterns.
The REAL danger lies in the possibility of a fire or explosions, while the rods are exposed and melting (apparently the rods can actually ignite the
air in some cases) which would be a worst case scenario, an explosion could damage the bottom containment and get into the ground, then there's no
stopping it. But it could also blast bits of the rods, and other contaminated material, all over the place, spreading the direct contact radiation
far and wide, while blasting tiny dust particulate, full of radiation, into the air. This is the fallout you'd be worried about, and this would be
the stuff that might make it over the pacific.
The steam releases are of no concern unless you are in Japan, and explosion or raging fires whilst in meltdown, would be potentially devastating.